The front gates of Versailles Palace

Bon Voyage! (3)

Salut! This is my third entry of a two week stay in France. I’m here with 15 other students as part of my school’s exchange program. Specifically, I’m staying in Saint Germain-de-la-Grange, a town outside of Versailles (about 45 minutes from Paris). I’m staying with Victor’s family, the exchange student who stayed with me for two weeks in February.

This is the third post from my trip. I hope to post every couple of days (or more) about what I’m doing, seeing, and of course: eating. You can find all of the posts here.

Thursday, 4/18
Today we went to Le Château de Versailles. Victor’s high school is 10 minute walk away from the palace, and we got to see lots of different French shops and cafes along the way. The walk would have been shorter, but we had to stop at a boulangerie and get a croissant or two.

We found the main square in front of the gates to be generally empty, so we had a chance to take pictures and the line through security was nice and short.

The golden gates of the Palace of Versailles. #frenchexchange #France #Versailles

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Once inside, we could wander off. First, I stopped at an exhibit on a collection of French works from Jerusalem. They had some amazing things there, like carefully woven religious robes, jeweled household objects, and amazing art. One piece I saw was made of solid silver, but was created so that the texture looked soft.

Then I went through the palace itself. Each room was larger and more extravegant then the last. There are high ceilings, exquisite chandeliers, paintings everywhere, and huge windows. Some rooms are devoted to the rest of the palace and grounds, giving model overviews and showing paintings of the noblemen and kings of the time. My favorite room was the Hall of Mirrors. Windows on one side and mirrors all along the other. The light would reflect off the mirrors and gold paint, lighting up the room.

At the end, there’s a little cafe called Angelina, where they have baked goods and hot drinks. My friend Jaime suggests the hot chocolate. Afterwards, our group trickled out, through the gift shop, into the central courtyard where we regrouped.

Next we headed into the grounds behind the palace. We ate lunch on the side of a large pool, feeding the ducks and swans. And the fish, which looked big enough to eat the ducks if they wanted.

After lunch, we hopped on bicycles and rode around the grounds. The sun was out and everything was green. We stopped to walk through Le Petition Trianon along the way, and finally returned to where we started, a little more sunburnt then when we had left. Then we returned to the high school to meet our host students.

Friday, 4/19
Today was very relaxed. The American students spent the day doing homework, and watching a movie, which was nice. Victor and I took the train home. In the Gare SNCF de Versailles-Chantiers, which we take our train from, there is a piano right in the middle of the station. Anyone can walk up and play it, and be heard throughout the station.

Tomorrow, the Catacombs!

Jack Struck

Student in our nation's capital, studying International Relations with a focus on the Middle East. Web designer, runner, reader, and leader.

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